The Hair Care Trio

You know that eureka moment when everything just clicks? I'm talking about perfect concoctions, successful mixologies, and products with a better love story than- dare I say it- Ben & Jerry. That's exactly how I feel about these three products; it's L.O.V.E.

I've never been a fan of styling products, I found them too sticky and messy when I was younger (and entirely clueless as to how they work) so I tended to just stick to good old fashioned shampoo, conditioner and a weekly hair mask. As styling products became more established, I decided to branch into the realms of sprays, treatments, serums and oils alike, and this is my current go-to haircare trio:

1. Redken Extreme Anti-Snap

As far as leave in treatments go, this is my favourite kind. This gets whipped out on Sundays and Wednesdays for a pampering treatment and it smells a-mazing; I just smooth a few pumps (yes it has a pump which means no mess, no wastage) onto the mid-lengths to ends of towel dried hair before leaving it to dry. I've been using this for a couple of months now and it just makes my hair feel so much stronger and healthier. Plus it doubles up as a heat protectant- bonus! The formula is quite light and doesn't weigh down my hair at all but I've noticed a definite difference in the amount of split ends that have stopped cropping up.. I picked this up from here and it's currently £13.48 in the sale so purses at the ready!

2. Philip Kingsley Elasticizer

Since Amelia's rave review about how this basically saved her hair, I was sold a thousand times over. My hair is pretty long now and probably not in the best condition (think split ends x 10) and I've always been worried that I'd have to chop my hair off to make it healthier again but this has saved that. It's probably the most complicated of the three to use as it's a pre-shampoo treatment so you have to wet your hair and then apply it, leave it on for 20 minutes ish and then wash it out but it just leaves my hair feeling so so sleek, smooth, soft and manageable really. I bought the 75ml in the Feel Unique sale for £10ish but I'll be repurchasing the large version (maybe the Extreme one) which comes in at around £20.

3. Dove Hair Therapy Nourishing Oil Care

I had heard so many good things about this leave in conditioner and I searched the aisles of my local Boots for months with no success before just caving in and ordering it online with some other goodies (coming up soon) and I'm so glad I did. It's a huge budget buy retailing at £3.59 for a whopping 250ml of product, and it's more than worth it. I spray this onto the lengths of my hair when damp and it does a great job of detangling, smoothing, and basically just nourishing the lengths of my usually scarecrow-reminiscent mop. Plus it smells divine, it's one of those products that just leaves me sniffing my hair all day long- mmhmm.

So that's it for my styling trios, if you've tried any of the above or have any recommendations of your own then please let me know in the comments below; and whilst I'm at it, don't forget to follow me on twitter for updates n' stuff.

Life Update: What I've Been Up To

So I guess this strictly falls into the lifestyle category of posts but I just thought I'd shed some light on what I've been up to lately and also let you all know how to keep up with what I've been doing (at the end of the post).

Starting with the slightly more depressing, apologetic news: My older brother had shoulder surgery this week so, with six weeks in a sling and months of physio to look forward to, he literally can't move a muscle so we've all been running around after him- I'll bet he's loving that- and despite the effects of his painkillers making him hilariously delirious, looking after someone 24/7 is exhausting.

Also I have been super super busy at work; I'm currently holding down three jobs with blogging as my release, and in my main job, I've been asked to take over the business for a few days whilst my boss goes on a business trip so I've been preparing for that during the days, spending my evenings working as a private tutor and my nights babysitting children a.k.a living the life. I've had zero time to take any photos or write up any posts and over the last few weeks, I hadn't really been testing out many new things as I was embracing the whole 'stripped back' skincare routine, makeup look etc. Fortunately things have calmed down and I'm finding myself with a bit more free time so I'm currently scheduling left, right and center- watch out for tomorrow's post by the way, it's about a HG product!

The other thing that's been playing on my mind a whole lot recently is the slightly daunting prospect of university. I am applying this year to go next September and I still haven't chosen a course/university nor have I written my personal statement or even started anything else really.. even though my application is being processed in October. Which gives me a couple of months to seriously crack down and face up to it (procrastination is seriously not key). Anyway, I've been considering taking English Literature (I applied to do Economics and Politics last year but it didn't really click with me) so if you're studying that, or anything else really, at university then please let me know where/how it's going/if you'd recommend it in the comments.

On with the good stuff; I'm super happy to announce that this blog will be featured in a magazine called 'The Student Guide' for an article about beauty blogs "aimed specifically at students who want to keep up with the latest looks". The Student Guide is given out to hundreds of thousands of freshers starting university next month and it's a really amazing opportunity to be featured so thank you very much to the people behind that decision. The next issue is out soon so I'll keep you all updated with how things go but it's something that I'm really looking forward to!

Another exciting thing is that I've finally gotten around to creating a Student Beauty twitter account so if you wanted to contact me, ask any questions, find out what I'm up to then you are all very welcome to come and follow me here.

P.S I am officially on my gap year- yay! Unfortunately my travel buddy has opted to go down the uni route but hopefully early next year I'll be in NY to see the sights and go and watch my favourite sports team play a game (that's the Knicks, by the way) albeit I might have to make the trip alone.. all in the name of travelling!

TendSkin Review

A while back, VDM headquarters (That's this beaut, of course) published a post entitled 'Unspoken Beauty Bits'- not that I necessarily think that any of the things she wrote about should be deemed unspoken- but Vivianna addressed a problem with ingrown hairs and I was hooked from there.

Story time guys: on a beach holiday two/three years back, I thought it would be a great idea *sigh* to bring some wax strips with me and wax my legs for the first time ever in the bathroom of my hotel (I have no idea what I was thinking). I didn't have a clue how to use the strips and ended up getting pretty irritated razor burn-ish legs; think tiny red bumps and dry patches all over my shins.. tasty. Fast forward to June 2013 and those little bumps remained on my legs, unchanged and seriously non-presentable. So having read about Anna's success with TendSkin I decided to give it a go and- spoiler alert- I bared my legs in public for the first time in aaaages last week. Yep, it's that good. 

After taking in a deep breath of fresh air -this stuff absolutely stinks of cheap vodka-, I douse a cotton pad with the solution and just sweep it over my legs (and any other places that ingrown hairs make an unwanted appearance) post-shave et voila! Silky smooth legs, no sign of an ingrown hair anywhere.

A few cautions/FYIs though:

- I've found that this is the most effective when applied immediately post-shave, but unfortunately that is when it tends to sting like a mo'fo. I don't mind that too much though as it only lasts a few seconds and is seriously more effective that way, but if you have zero pain tolerance then you might want to wait an hour or so.

- This does a pretty snazzy job at hair growth minimisation too- I know it's not something that it claims to do but it's just something I've noticed which makes the product even more appealing to me- oh I do love a hybrid..

- Moisturising is, of course, wonderful n'all, but apply this beforehand otherwise it won't be as effective and wait for it to be completely dry before you slather on the lotion.

- Patience and dedication are key; don't expect results the next day. It took a few good day and night uses of this to see results but, once my legs were back to normal, I only needed to use this a couple of times a week.

Time for the big question; is it worth the money? TendSkin retails at around £10/11 for 118mls - I got mine from here because of the free delivery but it's also available at Feel Unique etc. I got through a fifth of the bottle in two months (with habitual usage) so it will last for quite some time and I will definitely be repurchasing! Now to find a cure for the dreaded keratosis pilaris...

BOTW #10

As you read this, I'll be away on a spa break hopefully having a relaxing week before I get my exam results.. exciting! In the meantime, what would Wednesday be without another blogger of the week? This time it's Jen's blog that I've probably been reading more than anything else.

I can't even begin to explain how much I love this blog; I think a borderline obsession may be developing..
All of these posts are just bang on point, exactly what I want to read about, no extra fuss, just unadulterated beauty goodness. Photography is divine as it is with all of my BOTWs, writing is succinct but in depth enough to cover all of the bases- I never get to the end of a post and still have questions to ask because everything is so well explained. And the products, oh the products, I just need them all. That's all I can say on that one.

Jen posts super regularly so go and check out her blog and stay tuned for more!

Origins GinZing Energy-Boosting Moisturiser

Oh would you look at that- another one of those little orange tubs that filled up everyone's various blogging feeds a few months back. In that case, have you heard it all before? Do you really need to keep on reading? Of course you do! Seriously, who even gets tired of hearing about Origins products because I definitely don't (sorry if you do).

I have heard pretty tip-top things about this moisturiser so I went in with high expectations and came out feeling slightly undecided. This has a super lightweight gel-like consistency, very similar in texture to the Effaclar Duo. As we all know, it has a very strong fruit scent that everybody compares to Terry's Chocolate Orange but to me it just smells like oranges. Application-wise it is a dream to smooth on, as it quite literally glides over skin and absorbs within minutes without leaving any sort of tacky residue. Origins do claim that this can be used mornings and evenings but having tried and tested both, I seriously would only reserve this for morning use as it just doesn't really pack the moisture-intensive punch that I'd normally use overnight. In terms of ingredients, it doesn't contain the following: parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, mineral oil, synthetic fragrance, animal ingredients.. the list goes on, but it does contain caffeine (something I was a little apprehensive about as I'm caffeine-intolerant but fortunately my skin doesn't seem to mind). The tub is a standard 50ml size and I can see it lasting a long while because you only need the tiniest amount so value for money is average-good here.

So if this review has made you a teensy bit curious, you can pick this up for £23 online here. Have you tried this? Let me know what you thought in the comments below, or feel free to recommend any other moisturisers- I'm in the market for a good evening moisturiser!

SPF Talk: Anthelios XL 50+ Dry Touch Gel-Cream

I won't bore you all to death on the importance of wearing suncream- I'm sure you've heard it all before, if not from fellow beauty bloggers then from cautious parents, so let's just assume that we're all clued up on the benefits of SPF.. (but if you're not, this post by the lovely Meg is just perfectly informative). Being the pale skin type that I am, anything below SPF 30 on my face is just a no-no, but fortunately finding a high factor is just so simple in today's market with offerings from Kiehls, Avene, Clinique, Bioderma and, without further ado,  La Roche-Posay.

This particular suncream is targeted at sensitive skin types and people with skin allergies but I think anybody would be fine to use this- it's paraben free, perfume free, water-resistant, and has an "ultra-dry finish". The texture of this is just not too thick but not too thin creaminess, and it absorbs like a dream with a little elbowgrease (you do need to rub this in well) and there's no hint of a white residue a.k.a no ghost face, we've all been there, plus it forms a really lovely base for foundation- bonus! The finish is pretty matte and it isn't even remotely greasy so combination-oily skinned girls in particular, this could be one for you..

This is a personal favourite of mine to use when the weather gets a little summery (read: suspiciously hot and sticky) so I'd definitely recommend giving this a whirl. It's currently on offer at £12.37 here, for a 50ml sized bottle, completely worth the money in my opinion, it's lasted me a good month so far and I'm not even halfway through!

What's your go-to SPF? Let me know in the comments below!

Going Milk-Free: Update

I've been without milk (the cow kind, at least) for about three months now and I think it's time for an update. I've been using Alpro Almond milk in my morning cereal and I can barely tell the difference taste-wise- it's a little sweeter if anything; almond milk is definitely winning there.

Skin wise (which is the whole reason that I've gone milk-free) I've not actually noticed a massive difference, which I'm putting down to two things. Firstly, I have only ever had a splash of milk in cereal a few times a week so it's likely that substituting isn't a significant change, but secondly, my skin has been so good to me for the past few months - touch wood - so it could be that this is just maintaining my complexion because it can't really do all that much more to it- we'll see. I'm going to persevere with it because I prefer the taste and do believe I'm much better off without a bunch of artificial cow hormones in my system!

Oh, and just a final FYI for anyone considering making the move to a milk-free diet, Almond milk is definitely the nicest in my opinion. I've tried soy milk which doesn't really taste of much- it's a little watery if anything but just doesn't taste of much, and hazelnut milk.. I'm not a fan of it. It really does taste very nutty (surprise surprise) plus it's darker in colour than the others which throws me off a little.

In fact, with the exception of cheese, I've turned completely vegan without even realising.. but alas, I'll never make the full move to veganism until I find a nice tasting, accessible cheese alternative. Any suggestions?

My Rimmel Manicure

Rimmel have been my go-to brand for nail products since I first ventured into the world of polishes; their 60-second picks have claimed my hands-down 'everybody needs to know about these' first place and haven't budged from the top despite my attempts at getting acquainted with Essie & Co. Not that I'm complaining, they're so reasonably priced and come in the (bold statement time) best shade range I've ever seen..

The 'Xpress' flat brush is the perfect sized applicator for polishing away and varnishing up; it's one of those one stroke's all you need brushes that I have to refrain myself from swooning at every time I lacquer up. I reviewed the shade 'Rose Libertine' back in March, so here's that post for those who'd like a gander at my favourite shade, but this time I'm back with another offering; 'How Do You Lilac It?', a winning cross between pastel lilac and muted lavender-y mauve. Despite the claim of a one minute dry time (which it both doesn't live up to nor stray far from), the formula is just perfect and the lasting power is pretty good- my record is six days chip-free, and that's saying something considering my current job leaves my hands scuffed and ruined everyday. I personally like to layer the colour over a coat of Rimmel's 'Stronger' clear base coat, another pretty good product; this has strengthened my nails a little, but the glory feature lies in its ability to prevent staining.

Fun fact for you all: these photos were taken on the fifth day of wearing this shade- one chip is pretty good going!

So that's my Rimmel manicure done, dusted, and 100% recommended for you all to try out- I am the biggest fan of this shade, despite having pretty pale skin that is never ever complimented by lighter/brighter colours, I actually find this to be so wearable.

Do you guys have a go-to dynamic duo? Let me know in the comments below!